Halloween is a great time of year for beginning a new project.

NaNoWriMo (which stands for National Novel Writing Month) begins on 1st November. This is a time when writers worldwide commit to writing 50,000 words of something during the month. You can register for free with the NaNoWriMo site or you can do your own version. You don’t have to work on the same project for the whole month – nobody checks up on you and you do not have to submit anything. You could, for instance, write a collection of short stories or articles during November.

The vibrant orange colours of the pumpkins, spooky carved lanterns and the turning colours of the trees are what inspires me at this time of year. I also love ghost stories.

If you’re stuck for inspiration try the following:

  • Go outside and make a list of sensory descriptions – the smell of bonfire smoke, taste of ripe apples, vibrant yellow of silver birch leaves, crisp texture of fallen leaves as they skitter across the path, the sound of the wind as it rattles the shed door and the feeling there is somebody hiding in the shadows.
  • Pick a word – try PUMPKIN, LEAVES or MIDNIGHT. Write it in the middle of a large sheet of paper. Create a mind-map – see how many word associations or ideas you can build from the word. Build these into stories or poems.
  • Begin with: “The clock struck midnight…’ and see where the idea takes you.
  • Re-write the story of Cinderella and her pumpkin coach from a different viewpoint.
  • Visit a coffee shop and try something different – e.g. a gingerbread spiced latte or a slice of pumpkin pie. What do you notice about the place?
  • Make a resolution to do a short piece of writing every day in November. Don’t judge what you write. Think of it as being like money in the bank. Reward yourself for each day you write something.
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